Quite recently, I have been contemplating the meaning of romantic love, the place of monogamy in this love and all other contraptions and rules of romantic love that are generally accepted.
I’m of the Disney generation. Therefore a part of me believes in ‘happily ever after’ and ‘the one’. Not in its entirety, but I want to believe in that. The special look, the ugly sisters getting in the way and prince charming.
I am also of the ‘Father of the Bride’ generation. The one where families move because of the wife’s ambition and the women know exactly what they want, fully kitted with husbands that will eventually align. And because Steve Martin wouldn’t dare tell me lies, I believe that this is possible. That there are men who will play the support role in their women’s lives and be happy in this role.
Added to the above, I read. I read about women like Simone de Beauvoir who had multiple partners but still managed to have a healthy and intellectually stimulating relationship with one man. I read about sexuality and understand that it is fluid. And attraction can move from one sex to another. Therefore it is perfectly alright for me to be in love with this man I’m in love with, but have attractions to other people. It is alright that this man does not feel threatened by this. Perhaps it is not alright that I feel terrified by it. My sexuality and his. For what is good for the goose is good for the gander. But I’m a territorial girl. And if I could pee on him to set boundaries, I would.
From the moment I could have sexual fantasies, I’ve never had one where I have just one lover. I remember being in primary school and planning how to seduce room service waiters by dropping my towel. I don’t know how or where I learned that, but I know my friends Nne and Ije always had an elaborate plan. It always ended with dropping towels, because we didn’t know what came after.
Then I discovered how to make me ‘happy’. By squeezing my thighs together. And I could make more stories. Sometimes with one person, other nights, I was on a roll. Then I was in high school and making out with all the boys that moved to me. And learning that moving to me in secret did not mean claiming in public. Then I learned of the freedom in this. If no one was claiming me, then I could have them all and have no responsibilities after. Depending on the person, sometimes this hurt, other times? Bliss.
Then I was in college and I fell for this one. And I learned that falling for this person did not stop me from finding refuge in another from time to time. But I loved this one.
Then others. Each time, with a promise to do better. What did better mean? To cage my wandering heart. Then to blossom under the ‘unwanted attention’. To give my best in my relationship when this ‘unwanted attention’ surfaced. To wonder about myself. To punish myself worse than society.
Then to meet him. With whom I am free. With whom, I am terrified. Because I want him. I want all of him. I want to give him all of me. Wandering heart that is me. To know that he is the constant I want, and to wonder about my need for variables. To have him be okay with the variables and ask me do me.
Now I am frightened. Because his kind only exists in books. Or as partners of these women I admire. Could he really be here? For me?